Earlier this week, 18-year-old Kiwi freeskier Jackson Wells became the first skier to ever land a quad cork, at New Zealand’s Cardrona Alpine Resort.
We thought it would be worth noting some of the most historic firsts from the world of action sports:
Skateboarding: Tony Hawk’s 900
Tony Hawk landing skateboarding’s first-ever 900 at the 1999 X Games Skate Vert Best Trick competition is one of if not the most iconic moment in skateboarding history.
The 900 had been a Holy Grail-esque goal in skateboarding for roughly a decade before Hawk landed it in San Francisco. Hawk logged 10 failed attempts at landing it, and went well beyond the time limit for the event.
Regardless, event organizers ignored the time limit, and allowed Hawk an 11th attempt.
He stuck it, and the crowd lost its collective mind. He took home gold for the event, and according to ESPN, remained the sole skateboarder to land a 900 for five years. As of 2014, only a dozen skateboarders had ever landed the trick.
Hawk went on to perform the 900 multiple times throughout his illustrious career, notably landing one earlier this year at age 48 — exactly 17 years to the day after he landed his first.
Moto: Carey Hart’s first backflip attempt
It’s crazy to think how far the world of freestyle motocross has evolved. In just 15 years, riders advanced to landing triple backflips when a single backflip was once thought impossible.
At the turn of the century, many people discounted attempting a backflip on a full-size 250 cc motorcycle as nuts.
But in 2000 at the Gravity Games in Providence, Rhode Island, moto legend Carey Hart went for it.
Sure, he slightly over-rotated and just failed to ride out his landing, but it didn’t matter: Hart had become the first person to ever attempt the trick in competition, and the world of freestyle motocross would never be the same.
Snowboarding: JP Walker’s double cork in Shakedown
As TRANSWORLD SNOWBOARDING noted, the double cork forever changed the landscape of slopestyle snowboarding, and the trick, in its multiple variations, has become a staple in video edits and contest runs.
While the trick wasn’t introduced in competition until the 2006 Air & Style Munich event by Travis Rice and David Benedek, it originated with JP Walker in his part for Mack Dawg Productions’ 2003 edit Shakedown.
Walker described the trick to TRANSWORLD SNOWBOARDING as something that almost happened by accident — the first time he came close to landing the double cork was when he accidentally over-rotated on a single cork 900 two years prior — a moment he said he couldn’t get out of his head.
“I didn't have anyone else to watch or any photos to look at,” Walker told TRANSWORLD SNOWBOARDING’s Gerhard Gross. “So I just brewed it over in my head for a couple of years.”
BMX: Mat Hoffman’s no-handed 900
With all due respect to Dave Mirra inventing the double backflip in BMX park competitions, Mat Hoffman’s no-handed 900 at the 2002 X Games BMX Vert competition is as iconic as any moment in BMX history.
Going into the contest, the 30-year-old Hoffman had already established himself as a legend of the sport, and had began transitioning away from vert competitions — even claiming he was retiring from vert at X Games 2001.
But Hoffman had a flair for the dramatic, and ended his short-lived vert retirement at X Games 2002 by landing a trick so difficult it would be nine years until another rider pulled it off in a contest.
Surfing: Zoltan Torkos’ kickflip
Zoltan Torkos landing surfing’s first-ever documented kickflip in 2011 is notable for a couple of reasons.
First, because of just how obsessed Torkos has been with landing kickflips on a surfboard while many in the sport viewed it as an odd gimmick.
But second, because Torkos’ obsessions came about as the result of a challenge by Volcom called the Kickflip-off that began in 2007, promising $10,000 to any surfer who successfully documented him or herself landing a kickflip while surfing.
Torkos did exactly that, but Volcom stated he wasn’t above the lip of the wave and started a weird battle with Torkos about the legitimacy of his kickflip , before eventually paying him.
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